LAHORE: The Lahore Museum is hosting the exhibition “Love, Life, and Belongings,” which features the works of seven artists.
The artworks are the result of the Gandhara Artist Residency in Taxila, where the artists stayed and drew inspiration from Buddhist art and history to create their Gandhara-inspired works.
Aisha Moriani, Muhammad Ashraf, Rabiya Asim, Sumbul Natalia, Sumera Jawad, Dr. Khaleequr Rehman, and Amina Cheema are among the artists.
According to Sumbul Natalia from the National Arts College, religious fanaticism throughout history caused the Buddha sculptures at the Julian monastery of Taxila to have their heads smashed. These headless Buddhas informed her big time, which resulted in his art pieces in mixed media, which all show headless Buddhas. She did an installation of broken sculptures with an audio device that would help the visitor hear the sound of smashing sculptures.
“Found Objects and Sound Installation” is another artwork by Sumbul that’s part of the exhibition. She has used stones found at artisans’ workshops in Taxila and turned them into art pieces. The sounds of smashing stones were made part of the artwork, with headphones available to hear the audio of smashing stones. Sumbul says that her installation is also related to her mixed media pieces, smashing of heads of Buddhas.
Dr Rehman, a urologist, has four art pieces, including a sculpture, at the exhibition.
Speaking to Dawn, he says he has been in love with Gandhara art since his student days at Mayo College when he would visit the museum almost daily to see Gandhara art on his way back home. He says his work blends Gandharan art with modern concepts.
Four “Neo Gandharan Plates” by Dr Rehman are on show. Each plate features carvings of various contemporary images. The decorative plates from Gandhara served as inspiration for these pieces, however they included diverse images. One of the primary figures in Gandhara art, Buddha, is shown in his stone sculpture looking through a window. The work inspired by schist sculptures has been carved from grey and white marble.
Sumera Jawad’s works, drawings of female figures on Taxila stones, get inspiration from the complex representation of women in Buddhist Gandhara. According to Buddhist tradition, women can’t ascend to the status of a Buddha, and through her works, Sumera has tried to investigate the representation of women in the sculptures found in Gandhara. With her drawings of seductive female bodies on the stones, she has interpreted the representation of women in her way.
Muhammad Ashraf has a large-scale drawing made with graphite on tracing sheets. Besides, he is showcasing two portraits of Buddha based on art pieces in Taxila Museum in which he has used graphite on golden hand-made paper he had purchased from India in 1992.
The exhibition will continue till March 26 (all days except Friday).
The residency and exhibition are presented by the Center of Culture and Development and the International Council of Museums, in collaboration with the Lahore Museum.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2023
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